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Dust Storm in Northeast China
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Dust Storm in Northeast China

April 17, 2006

A massive dust storm rages across the northeast portion of China in the "Inner Mongolia" region. The country in the upper left portion of the image is sometimes referred to as "Outer Mongolia" or simply "Mongolia". The countries on the right side of the image are North and South Korea, from top to bottom, respectively.

The region is studded with high plateaus and deserts, including the Badain Jaran, Tenggeli, Maowusu, Hunshandak; the latter is featured in the lower left portion of the image. Dust storms are a natural occurrence, but agricultural practices and grazing can contribute to the problem; removing ground cover makes the underlying soil drier and more mobile.

Long, unobstructed landscapes facilitate high winds, providing a means of transport, picking up fine-grained sand and carrying it for hundreds of kilometers.

Dust storms of this sort have been recognized as a critical natural hazard, negatively impacting human health, transportation, and agriculture. Restoration efforts are underway in the region in an attempt to keep sand in place and prevent or mitigate the effects of large storms.